From the Sanctuary
Around the 11th of November, people will be gathering around memorials and cenotaphs to ‘remember’. Veterans will proudly parade with their medals; royalty will be saluting and bowing in humble sobriety; wreaths garnished with poppies will be laid in respectful silence. The last post will be played by solitary trumpeters, teetering with the final notes that end the piece prematurely in the way that war does with lives. It is a time of stock-taking. We will remember… but why?
Some will say it is because it is our ‘duty’ to respect those who gave their lives for us to live free from tyranny. Remembering is the least we can do to show our individual and national gratitude for what they did on our behalf. Celebration of them, and their actions, on Remembrance Day puts their sacrifice at the focus of the nation’s attention for an hour or so. We will show reverence, reflect a while, walk away somewhat more emotionally sobered, before returning to our normal lives for which, we say, they died. Would they think their sacrifice worth it if they saw how we live our lives now, I wonder? Where is the peace in the world that they fought for? The war to end all wars they said – twice… and yet war stills goes on.
Undoubtedly, those who fought alongside the fallen, or those who lost loved ones, will profoundly remember the laughter, the smells, the sounds and the stories. For them Remembrance Day is an anniversary – a reopening of the grief and a re-living of the past which is still very much in the ‘now’ on that one day in the year. But as the years pass, and the number of veterans and their remembering relatives decrease, what will the need to remember be about? After all, Britain was forever at war pre-World Wars, and we don’t hold in our national psyche the need to remember them. And as Christians, doesn’t forgetting play a part in our imperative to forgive? Aren’t we in some way glorifying war by condoning remembering with parades and medals, sanctified with prayer and godly procession? How will our relationships with other nations heal if on one day in the year we keep dredging up the past, and unintentionally reminding them of the hurt they have done to us and to the world?
Remembrance Day is not about glorifying war. It is about abhorring war. Remembering – rather than forgetting – is an important part of forgiveness and of healing relationships. It is important in some types of relationships that forgiveness doesn’t lead to forgetfulness – for if it does, it can enable ‘damnation’. Forgetting atrocities leads to them being repeated throughout history. Remembering creates a barrier against repeating them.
Remembering is therefore ‘redemption’. Reminding the world and ourselves of its, and our, capacity for destruction is important. It prevents complacency, and enables us the chance not to repeat the past. So, remember that when you wear your poppy with pride, you are enabling the support of those who are left. Remember that when you watch the marching of the veterans, they are marching out of respect for their colleagues, and also for your continued peace and liberation from the tyranny of war. Remember that when you observe the pomp and circumstance, and listen to the trumpeter, they are all enacting a desire for atrocity never to be repeated. They are remembering us too – for remembrance plays a vital part in our redemption and that of our precious world. Long may we continue to remember. It is our salvation.
Wishing you every blessing,
Celebrated on 8th November: Four Crowned Martyrs
Has your boss ever tried to get you to do something that is against your Christian faith? If so, here are some saints for you. They chose to make a Christian ‘stand’ at work, even though it really irritated their boss.
Claudius, Nicostratus, Simpronian and Castorius were simple stonemasons in early 4th century Rome. They worked in the imperial quarries and workshops of Sirmium. They made a number of carvings for the Emperior Diocletian, who had a passion for building.
Then Diocletian decided he wanted a statue of Aesculapius, the ancient Greek god of medicine. Here Claudius, Nicostratus, Simpronian and Castorius hesitated: they were Christians, and not comfortable about making a ‘god’. They demurred. Their line manager Lampadius was furious, and soon had them imprisoned for refusing to sacrifice to the gods. Claudius and his friends were in bad trouble – and then it got worse. Lampadius suddenly died. His family were distraught, and so blamed the stonemasons. Claudius and his companions were killed by drowning.
The courage of these four simple stonemasons to risk everything rather than make a stone statue of a god, was a great inspiration in the early Church. Their story was told and retold down the centuries…. eventually Claudius and his friends became the patron saints of guilds of stonemasons in England.
We are pleased that Mr Michael Evans of Wood Street Mission has accepted our invitation to join us at the Tin and Toy Advent Service on 28th. As we are not able to donate toys as in the past, we are asking for donations to be made payable to Wood Street Mission. Special envelopes for your donations have been prepared and it would help if you could bring these to church on 21st November so that they can be isolated before passing over to Michael a week later.
Prayer for November
In these short, dark days of November, with all the uncertainties and complications in our new Covid 19 landscape, help us to feel the reassurance of Your presence in the gift of each new day. Help us to be guided through the darkness by Your light – by Jesus, who will never leave us or forsake us.
In His name – the name above pandemics and shortages and rising bills and all anxieties – we pray. Amen.
By Daphne Kitching
|What’s On In November|
|Sunday 7th||Family Service with Holy Communion|
led by Br Peter
|Monday 8th||Church Committee on Zoom||7 p.m.|
|Wednesday 10th||M.W.A. Meeting||1.15 p.m.|
|Sunday 14th||REMEMBRANCE DAY|
Service led by Br Peter
|Sunday 21st||Family Service |
led by Br Peter
|Sunday 28th||TIN, TOY AND ADVENT SERVICE|
Led by Srs Dorothy Evans and Kate Barber